Senators ask Coast Guard to publish cruise inspection results

By Tom Stieghorst
Three senators have asked the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard to consider publishing the results of cruise ship safety inspections online.

The request comes in a letter to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., jointly signed by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W Va.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn).

In the letter, the senators commend the Coast Guard for recently launching unannounced inspections of cruise ships. The Coast Guard regularly inspects foreign-flagged cruise ships visiting U.S. ports but typically cruise lines are informed in advance about the timing of the inspections.

The senators note that in a recent National Transportation Safety Board hearing on cruise ship safety, Coast Guard officials testified that some cruise lines have histories of above-average deficiencies.

In their letter, the senators ask what the Coast Guard plans to do with the information it gathers on unannounced inspections of ships with a pattern of safety issues.

"In addition, we respectfully request that the records and results of the unannounced inspections be made public and easily available over the Internet for prospective cruise passengers to peruse before booking a trip,” the letter said.

"By making this inspection information public and easily accessible by all, the Coast Guard empowers passenger to make more informed decisions.”
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